QUINCY, Mass. -- Sea turtle strandings on Cape Cod are picking up after a slow start to the season, experts at the New England Aquarium said Monday.
The aquarium has so far cared for almost 120 of the animals at its Quincy turtle hospital, the vast majority of which have been endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles. But scientists have also treated eight green turtles and two loggerheads.
The turtles are treated for life-threatening conditions, including pneumonia and dehydration, a result of days or weeks of hypothermia and the inability to feed.
The turtles get trapped in Cape Cod Bay as temperatures drop and wind patterns change, and they quickly become hypothermic. The stranding season started late this year because of temperature fluctuations that kept water in the bay warm.
The turtles are assessed and treated in Massachusetts, a process that can take weeks or even months, before being flown to Southern states for continued rehabilitation and eventual release back into the ocean.